Flutterwave plans NASDAQ IPO at US$3 billion value


    Flutterwave, the biggest Africa-focused fintech firm, is preparing for an initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange even as it deals with regulatory hurdles in its key markets, particularly Kenya.

    The San Francisco- and Lagos-based company will use the funds to expand operations in its existing markets and enter new ones in Africa, according to chief financial officer Oneal Bhambani, who along with three others joined the company in June from American Express.

    “We have the attractive market potential and opportunity to do so now,” Bhambani said in an interview. The listing is an initiative of the payments company that’s “reaching the scale and trajectory comparable to what other investors seemed to invest in the public markets”, he said without giving further details.

    Flutterwave, valued at more than $3 billion and backed by B Capital Group and TPG, has tapped talent from American Express’s Kabbage unit to bolster corporate governance ahead of the planned IPO, Bhambani said, without giving a timeline for the share sale.

    Kenya high court froze Flutterwave’s accounts over money laundering claims in July and the central bank said the company isn’t licensed to operate payments services in the country.

    The company has for months been struggling with allegations in the media and lawsuits — including claims of refusing former employees stock rights, harassment and bullying — casting doubts over its IPO plans.

    Flutterwave denied accusations of financial misconduct, including claims of money laundering in Kenya and irregularities related to stock options, and said it has taken action against those found culpable for any form of harassment in the company.

    Meanwhile, the company, which specialises in cross-border transactions, is expanding into lending. Flutterwave Capital will provide collateral-free, digital loans to business owners in Nigeria.

    “We are a growth company, we have a tremendous opportunity to invest and really develop solutions for the largest enterprises in the world that transact in Africa,” Bhambani said. It plans to begin lending by end of this year, he said.

    Techgh24 has also learnt that Flutterwave is working on getting a license to operate in Ghana.


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